Fried Cauliflower with Harissa Tahini Sauce

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 Trying to empty the refrigerator before going on vacation isn’t so easy, especially if you don’t want to buy anything else to make a dish. Right now, there’s a lonely cauliflower sitting in my nearly empty refrigerator vegetable drawer. It looks so sad, yet so eager to be picked. Loved. Eaten.

Since I’m making Mjaddara, I figured it would be nice to add Fried Cauliflower to tonight’s dinner table and I was feeling a little creative about it…

I love incorporating new flavors in old favorite dishes. Fried Cauliflower isn’t new for us. I’ve been eating it since I was a little girl. It’s a simple dish and delicious. Take the cauliflower and fry them in oil until they’re golden brown. My mom never boiled the cauliflower first or breaded them or served them with anything other than a generous helping of salt.

I decided to rebel and go wild with the cauliflower!

First, I boiled the cauliflower before frying them. Why? Because a lot of recipes called for boiling and then frying. The cauliflower retained their shape better boiling then frying as opposed to only frying them, so this is a step I’ll probably repeat in the future.

Then I thought, what else could I do to make this lonely cauliflower feel special?


Dipping vegetables in a creamy sauce is one of my weaknesses. Don’t get me wrong. I can enjoy a bucket of raw vegetables and be happy as a kid on Christmas. But when I dip said vegetables in a sauce I’m in heaven. Floating high above the sky in a fluffy cloud, munching on carrots topped with dill dip, or spinach dip or…

But a “dip” sauce isn’t going to work for Fried Cauliflowers so I had to think about it a bit longer.

At one of my many trips to Mark and Spencer’s I found a jar of a Moroccan spice called, Harissa. Admittedly, I’ve never used it before in cooking, even though I have 2 jars of it. Why 2? I don’t know? Maybe because I’m a food hoarder. We’ve discussed this already. People, please keep up here!

Hmmm… so what would happen if I added a little bit of Harissa to a standard Tahini Sauce. And when I say a little I mean a lot! Harissa is good people! Like really good! Have you tried it before?

Can I just say… Um… YUMMY! Adding Harissa really elevated the flavors of the tahini sauce and perfectly complemented the taste of the Fried Cauliflower. I bet you this sauce would taste amazing on:

  1. Falafel
  2. Sauteed Potato Wedges
  3. To Marinate Chicken
  4. Diluted with a little bit of water to make a salad dressing
  5. A spoon, while quietly sitting in a dark corner shoveling spoonful after spoonful in my mouth while Adele plays in the background.

Hello… Can you hear me… I’m sitting in a corner eating spoonfuls of Harissa… Hello….

Fried Cauliflower with Harissa Tahini Sauce


  • 1 Head of Cauliflower, florets
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/3 cup Tahini
  • 1 Lemon, juiced
  • 1/3 cup Yogurt
  • 1/4t Salt
  • 1 minced Garlic Clove
  • 1T Harissa


  1. Mix the tahini and lemon juice until nice and smooth. Add the yogurt, salt and garlic. stir until combined.
  2. Stir in the Harissa and combine. Set aside.
  3. Boil a pot of water and add cauliflower. Cook for 5-8 minutes or until soft. Drain the florets and pat dry to remove all of the water. Water will cause the oil to splatter!
  4. Heat oil in a pan that will fit the cauliflower. Carefully add as much of the cauliflower florets as will fit in the pan. Do not crowd them.
  5. Fry 3-4 minutes turning so that all sides of the cauliflower are browned.
  6. With a slotted spoon remove from the oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining cauliflower.
  7. Drizzle Harissa Tahini over Fried Cauliflower.
  8. Enjoy hot.
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